Anytime you are in the market for an industry professional, it is imperative that you do your homework to ensure you are being properly represented. Whether you are in the need for a lawyer, insurance agent, or financial advisor “shopping around” is imperative. The sad thing is that when it comes to hiring a real estate agent 89% of buyers and sellers hire the first real estate agent they meet with. Why is this “sad” you ask? Well, heres the thing. In most businesses, 80% of the sales are done by 20% of the people, the traditional 80/20 rule that you hear so often. In real estate, the numbers are staggeringly worse: 94/6! That means that 6% of the real estate agents do 94% of the work!
What does this mean to you? Given these figures, no wonder there is so much dissatisfaction from Real Estate Consumers. It is extremely easy to get stuck with a Realtor who does not do much business or have a great work ethic. So how do you avoid getting stuck with the 94%? We have compiled a detailed list of unique and strategic questions when interviewing an agent to help you buy or sell a home. Trust me when I tell you, these questions will make any unskilled Realtor very uncomfortable.
How many families did you help buy and sell last year?
Don’t be fooled by the agent who tells you they do business on a smaller scale to ensure you get a more personal experience. That is a bunch of nonsense. There is a reason why they only do the level of production they do. You want a Realtor who has a proven track record in both up and down markets and should be an important question in the interviewing process.
Of the homes you sold last year as a sellers agent, what was the average number of days on the market?
Let me tell you that this question speaks volume! It’s one thing, to just throw up a listing in the MLS and hope that a buyer finds it and writes an offer. It’s another thing for that agent to be proactive and be actively prospecting potential buyers for your property to ensure it sells quickly! Don’t be fooled by the Realtor that inflates the value of your home just to get your business; a common strategy that other agents use when competing with Realtors.
What was the average percentage between list price and contract price?
This question directly relates to the previous question above. Properly pricing the home from the start and having confidence on your Realtors negotiation skills.
What kind of market share do you and your company have?
What is Market Share? Basically this is a percentage of homes that the agent has sold in a particular area or neighborhood. This isn’t necessarily a critical question in the interviewing process, but you should ensure you are working with someone who has done business and has knowledge of your area.
Do you have an administrator or assistant?
Being a Realtor definitely has it’s challenges and its basically impossible for a Real Estate agent to be in two places at once. Working with a Real Estate agent who has hired a personal assistant ensure that they have invested in their business to continue to better YOUR experience and that, speaks volume! Ask the agent about their staff and how you will be working with them throughout the process.
Can you provide me with references and or recent reviews?
Ensuring that you your agent not only has a proven track record, but also numbers positive reviews to back that up is an absolute must. Experience and past sales are important, but equally important is the fact that their clients had an enjoyable experience. Ask for some sources where you can scan through numerous client reviews.
The internet is one of the most powerful tools when selling a home. What does your team do to ensure my property is being marketed properly.
Aligning yourself with a real estate team that has a huge online presence is one of the most crucial aspects of this hire. More than 90% of all home buyers find their new home online, so knowing how they market your property is imperative and your listing should be everywhere!
Does your company have it’s own branded website for marking homes and how can you ensure that my home comes up in the buyers search criteria?
Hiring a Real Estate agent who invests in a state of the art website and online/social media marketing shows their commitment to selling your property. You wan’t your home to always be at the top of the searches so ensuring your agent has dominated their search engine optimization and achieves good rankings will sure to get your home SOLD!
Will my home be “enhanced” on the most visited real estate websites?
It’s one thing to throw a property in Zillow or Realtor.com and hope that someone finds it. Its another thing to know that it is presented at the highest level and standing out against the rest of the competition by those websites premier account holders.
Tell me a little bit more about your photography process and ensure my home is more marketable.
Since we know that 90% of all home buyers search online, the first showing is always online and professional photos will showcase the home in true form. Many realtors take their own photos or hire a photographer with poor quality. Ask to see some of their current listings to see how your own property would be displayed online. Just as important as professional photos is a real estate agent that is knowledgeable on how to make your home as presentable as possible. These general recommendations on improvements will give you a significant return on the money spent.
When a buyer calls on my home will you ALWAYS be the one they communicate with?
In some offices when a potential buyer calls on your home, the agent will talk with the lead to ensure they are able to answer all of the questions about the house when the inquiry is made. Often times this is not the case and an agent on “phone duty” will take the lead. This is not ideal if the agent has never seen the home before.
How will you communicate with me about your efforts and how accessible will you be during this process?
In any real estate transaction communicate is the foundation of the sale, but yet one of the biggest complaints towards real estate agents is the lack of communication. Ensure that the agent has a communication structure on how you will be communicated with regarding showings, feedback, open houses, receiving offers, etc and how that relates to their administrative staff etc.
How much do you charge to sell my property and why?
Any top agent should be comfortable explaining the benefits they provide and exactly what they do to earn the commission they are paid. Commission rates can vary from agent to agent, but don’t be fooled here. Don’t think you are going to be saving money if an agent charges less. In life you get what you pay for. Why not hire a top agent if it doesn’t cost you more?
Will you allow me to terminate the listing contract if I am not completely satisfied?
Any Realtor that is confident they will sell your property should have no issues with answering “yes” to this question. There are truly some great Real Estate agents out there and many times, finding the right one takes time. It’s so important you take time to ensure your investment is property represented by a top agent and not settle for just the first agent that walks through the door. If you don’t take the time to go over these questions with you potential agent, you’re changes of unhappiness are high!